Catching up with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at Cannes


Aishwarya Rai with Richa Chadda in the movie Sarbjit playing at cinemas currently in Australia

By Manju Mittal

Crowned Miss World back in 1994, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has forged a successful modelling and subsequent acting career in Bollywood. In 2003 she became the first Indian actor to be a Cannes Film Festival Jury Member. She is the brand ambassador for L’Oreal, a regular at Cannes and is the queen of the red carpet for 15 years. Having proved her versatility as an actress Aishwarya took her onscreen talent to Hollywood in 2004 with ”˜Provoked’, ”˜The Last Legion’ and ”˜The Pink Panther 2’.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who has a four year old daughter Aradhaya with husband and actor Abhishek Bachchan says she is committed as an actress, but being a mother tops her priority list.

I caught up with the queen of Bollywood, a woman who is considered to be one of the most beautiful on the planet,  Aishwarya at Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez, just before she walked the red carpet at Cannes in an off the shoulder Rami Kadi ”˜May Blossom’ gown and wearing a purple lipstick. She chose a sober gold and black creation by celebrity Indian designer Rohit Bal for the screening of her new film the biographical drama Sarbjit and looked simply stunning. Aishwarya talks about her passion, style and ”˜Sarbjit’ that premiered at Cannes.

Did you enjoy your visit to Sydney, Australia last month?

I loved the whole feel of the city of Sydney, the vibe the warmth of the people. It was short but sweet experience to visit Australia.

Congratulations for completing 15 years in Cannes, how do you feel?

Yes, I have been associated with Cannes for 15 years. I have come here initially for my films like Devdas, then as a Jury member for the opening ceremony in 2003 and as a brand ambassador, besides a couple of times for our cinema. I feel fortunate to bring ”˜Provoked’ here at Cannes, there was a shout out for ”˜Raincoat’ in 2004. It’s a blessing when you get a chance to take your work to Cannes and now I go with the flow. I thank everyone here at Cannes, L’Oreal and (Laughs) of course media like you that remind me its 15 years now.

How do you feel being part of L’Oreal?

I enjoy working with L’Oreal, it’s their prerogative and I am happy about it, it is my professional commitment to deliver what they expect from me as their ambassador. I feel fortunate to work with great professionals and they have been magically creative with me. It’s not about an opportunity, it is not about an event and it’s not about the clothes, its just about being comfortable in your skin. I started having fun with it. I feel truly honoured to be a part of L’Oreal and love my role as the ambassador.

Can you tell us about your film ”˜Sarbjit’ premiering at Cannes and your views in terms of your character in the film?

I had done one similar film ”˜Provoked’ in 2006. ”˜Sarbjit’ was a divine connect.   It was a wonderful and intense piece of cinema to work on. I thought this was a unique subject and movie based on a real story of Indian national who was sentenced by Pakistani court in terrorism and spying case. I feel incredibly honoured and this is a great pride for all of us to bring this film to the Cannes Film Festival.

I am very grateful to god and people for incredible support and their love towards me and my entire career for all these years. I use word well wishers because that’s what I experience – my fans’ blessings. It is very inspiring and liberating so I can make choices as a professional. And hence letting me give my voice and my presence to the kind of cinema I can enjoy. Big commercial productions and subjects as that I believe should find audience, on this festival platform,  so glamorous on one end and at the same time meaningful from where media, market, cinema find avenues to reach wider audience. Hence it is important to bring Sarbjit here and share it because it can find a wider viewership.   I am sure you will get where I am coming from when you see the film, and the reason why I definitely wanted to give my presence and share my voice while getting the opportunity to play the role of an incredible spirit like Dalbir, my character in the film.

Having interviewed Abhishek Bachchan last year in Brisbane it was a sheer desire of mine to be able to talk to Aishveryaa. Having befriended her and seeing her from up close in my three visits at Cannes, it was good to catch up with her and talk about her journey in films. I must say she is drop dead gorgeous in person but her role in the film ”˜Sarbjit’ is totally an unglamorous woman-centric role. She has handled it brilliantly.

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